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  • 2 Nov 2020 8:48 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

    FamilySearch added 2.8M more records this week to its Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records 1626–2001 collection, and significant additions to Fiji, Vital Records 1900–1941 and Bolivia, Catholic Church Records, 1566–1996. Collections were also expanded for Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Peru, Puerto RicoS. Africa and the United States (California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and Washington).  

    Search these new records and images by clicking on the collection links below, or go to FamilySearch to search over 8 billion free names and record images.

    The fill list is very long, too long to list here. However, you can find the full list at:

  • 2 Nov 2020 8:08 PM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by Fold3:

    We’ve added a new collection of WWII records from Germany. The Germany, Military Killed in Action 1939-1948 collection contains index cards for about 2 million German soldiers killed during WWII.

    Researching German WWII soldiers can be tricky because many service records were destroyed during the war. 1939, the High Command of the German Wehrmacht began operating an information center for war casualties and prisoners of war. Initially, the agency was called WASt (short for Wehrmachtsauskunftstelle für Kriegsverluste und Kriegsgefangene). In 1946, it was renamed Deutsche Dienststelle für die Benachrichtigung der nächsten Angehörigen von Gefallenen der ehemaligen deutschen Wehrmacht (German Office for the Notification of Next-of-Kin of Members of the Former German Armed Forces who were Killed in Action). The name is commonly shortened as Deutsche Dienststelle (WASt). In 2019, that service became part of the German Federal Archives as the newly established Department PA (Information on Personal Data related to World Wars I and II) and is based in Berlin-Reinickendorf.

    The index cards in this collection contain information that can help research German soldiers who were killed in WWII including:

    • Name
    • Birthdate and Birthplace
    • Unit, Reserve Unit, Identification Number, Rank
    • Date of Death, Time of Death, Place of Death, and Type of Casualty
    • Burial Date, Location, and Grave Number (if known)

    These records are written in German but can be interpreted using the following example:

    Explore these index cards in the Germany, Military Killed in Action 1939-1948 collection on Fold3 today!

  • 2 Nov 2020 8:31 AM | Anonymous

    The following is an announcement from the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

    The Irish Genealogical Research Society is pleased to announce the inauguration of its Wallace Clare Award, through which it intends to celebrate outstanding, long-term contributions to the development of Irish genealogy worldwide. In this initial year the award is being presented to four recipients, all of whom have made a significant impact on aspects of the study of the genealogy of the people and diaspora of Ireland. 

    Reflecting the global spread of Irishness, two of the recipients are from the USA and one is from Argentina. The fourth person is honoured posthumously for a major one-name study that involved records from many countries. The four inaugural recipients are Marie E. Daly, from Massachusetts; Christina Hunt, from Pennsylvania; Guillermo MacLoughlin, from Buenos Aires; and the late William D. O’Ryan.

    Marie E. Daly

    Marie has been researching, lecturing, and writing about Irish genealogy since 1976, the year she made her first visit to Ireland. In 1983 she helped found the Massachusetts-based TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) and she served as president for its first three years. She joined the staff of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston in 1987. Over three decades she worked in the posts of Chief Financial Officer, Director of Library Services and Senior Genealogist. She led NEHGS’s Irish research programs for decades. Along the way she edited TIARA’s Newsletter, contributed to gravestone transcription projects, wrote in NEHGS’s publications, Register and Nexus, lectured at conferences in New England and Ireland, and worked on her own family history. With Judith Lucey, she wrote NEHGS’s Genealogist's Handbook for Irish Research, published in 2016. She retired the following year but she continues to pursue local and family history, serving as a board member and municipal commissioner on a number of genealogical and historical organisations.

    Christina Hunt

    Chris is a dynamo in Irish genealogy. She is the moving force behind the Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP) founded in 2000 and which encourages others to contribute a wide variety of genealogical information and data: church records, directories, gravestone inscriptions, memorial cards, newspaper obituaries, wills, etc. Since 2012 she has been the overall manager for the entire project, overseeing the collation and digitization of many useful records for the worldwide Irish genealogy community. Under her guidance IGP has grown to be a serious provider of free online Irish genealogical data. In order to help promote the Project, in 2012 Chris set up a number of IGP county pages on Facebook, through which thousands of people on a weekly basis learn and exchange knowledge about Irish genealogical research and history.

    Guillermo MacLoughlin

    Guillermo's unique contribution to Irish genealogy lies in his long and influential position amongst people of Irish descent in Argentina and his involvement in Irish-Argentine relations. Argentina has one of the most proud and active Irish Diaspora in the world, where at least half a million Argentines have Irish ancestors. Guillermo is sixth generation Irish in Argentina. His father's family is entirely of Irish descent and originates in Glascorn, five miles from Mullingar, in Co. Westmeath, and his mother's family is a mix Irish and Spanish descent. He is a public accountant, an economist, a historian, but not least an expert genealogist and a long standing member of the IGRS who has lectured widely and whose research has appeared in many publications. Since 2009 Guillermo has held the position of director and editor-in-chief of The Southern Cross, an Argentinian newspaper founded in 1875, covering Irish current affairs, cultural and social matters, and issues of historic and genealogical interests. Guillermo’s association with The Southern Cross dates back to the mid-1970s when its then editor encouraged him to write local histories relating to the Irish community in Argentina. Guillermo has since gone on to map the story of the Irish in Argentina.

    William Delmar O’Ryan (1915-1969):

    This award is made posthumously. Up until his death Bill O’Ryan had over the course of a number of decades amassed a huge quantity of genealogical material relating to the surname Ryan, O’Ryan or Mulryan from around the globe. This was helped by the fact that Bill worked for the US Foreign Service, which facilitated him travelling overseas. Wherever he visited he attempted to acquire Ryan biographical, historical and genealogical information, no matter how brief. Some of the places where he gathered data include Argentina, Canada, Chile, England, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Tenerife, USA, Vatican State, and the West Indies. After Bill’s death, at a relatively young age, a letter was found in which he hoped that the IGRS would benefit from his work. He had been a member of the IGRS since 1963. His collection ran to seven filing cabinets stuffed with paperwork which, as his son, Rick, and daughter, Josephine, said on accepting the Award for their father, was achieved “with a typewriter, carbon paper, pen and stamps as well as his many visits to libraries around Europe and the world”. A digital copy of Bill’s material has been donated to the IGRS which will in due course become available on the Society’s website.

    The Wallace Clare Award

    The Award is named in honour of Rev. Wallace Clare (1895-1963), a Catholic priest and keen academic who founded the IGRS in 1936. This was as a response to the great conflagration of 1922, which consumed almost the entire contents of Ireland’s Public Record Office. Fr. Clare was the author of the first ever work on Irish ancestral research, A Simple Guide to Irish Genealogy, published in 1937, and he was the first individual to be elected a Fellow of the IGRS. Since its foundation, the Society has gathered together an invaluable collection of transcripts and abstracts compiled from documents subsequently destroyed in the fire. It is the world’s oldest membership organisation devoted to the study and pursuit of Irish genealogy.

  • 2 Nov 2020 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    From an article by Heather Morrison and published in the MassLive web site:

    "Salem’s typically filled with ghost tours, visitors walking through cemeteries and other haunted happenings. This year, however, the city is discouraging visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "But that doesn’t mean people can’t still discover the stories behind the well-known city.

    "The city of Salem has been working with Laserfiche, a software company, for about three years to preserve some of its oldest documents, creating an online database for the public to search."

    Later in the same article:

    "Another reason many come to Salem is to gather information about someone’s family history or genealogy.

    “They can go and look at the original land grants information. They can track to when that became a parcel. They can track when that became a house. They can track the changes in the ownership of that house, various permits that were issued for that house or property, various other actions that happened over time,” Killen said. “And they can do that all safely at home. They don’t need to come to Salem. They don’t need to come into an office. They don’t need to interact with one or more potentially several staff members.”

    You can find the full article at:

  • 30 Oct 2020 9:57 PM | Anonymous

    This is the time of year for ghosts, goblins, and other such superstitions. However, perhaps it is also a time to pause and reflect on the horrors of those who suffered in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. The witches of Salem and nearby towns probably have hundreds of thousands of present-day descendants. If you have ancestry from early Essex County, Massachusetts, you have an excellent chance of finding a connection to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

    Salem, Massachusetts, and the surrounding towns in Essex County were amongst the first settled in this country. Most of the towns were established prior to 1640. By the time of the witchcraft trials of 1692, a complete legal system of courts and clerks was well established. Records were written, and many of them have been preserved. Even if your ancestors are not among those accused, it is quite possible that you can find them mentioned as witnesses, those who gave depositions, or perhaps even those who served on a jury.

    The reasons for the witchcraft hysteria have been debated for centuries. One modern theory involves ergot of rye, a plant disease that is caused by a fungus, Claviceps purpurea. Anyone who eats bread made with ergot-infected rye can exhibit symptoms of muscle spasms, tremors, and writhing. This may be accompanied by hallucinations. Such afflictions can indicate poisoning by ergot, or “ergotism.” Modern science has documented likely cases of ergotism in the Dark Ages, but the cause was only proposed in 1670 by a French physician, and outbreaks in the 20th century have shed much more light on both symptoms and their cause.

    We know much about the lives of the Puritan inhabitants of Essex County in 1692. We know that they were mostly illiterate, and almost all citizens were intensely religious. In their simple lives, they were afraid of the darkness and of many things in this world that they did not understand. They were convinced that the Devil walked amongst them every night and that he had many disciples. This fear was reinforced by the sermons delivered by Reverend Samuel Parris most every Sunday. If the citizens of Salem and nearby towns did exhibit muscle spasms, tremors, writhing and hallucinations, one cannot be surprised that their neighbors felt the victims were indeed possessed by the Devil himself.

    Ergot of Rye occurs in hot, humid weather. Warm, rainy springs and summers promote heavier than usual fungus infestation of rye. The pattern of the weather in 1691 and 1692 is apparent from brief comments in the diary of Samuel Sewall of Salem. Early rains and warm weather in the spring progressed to a hot and stormy summer in 1691, perfect conditions for creating hallucinogenic bread in the fall and winter of 1691, well into the spring and possibly very early summer of 1692, before the new crop of rye was harvested. Sewall recorded that there was a drought in 1692; thus, no contamination of the grain would be expected that year.

    You can read a detailed explanation of ergotism and the at There is no proof available today that ergot of rye was the cause of the Salem Witch Trials. It does, however, provide an intriguing possibility.

    The whole series of episodes began in December 1691 and into January, a time when the people of Salem would be eating bread made from the summer's rye harvest, rye that had time to become infected with ergot. Two girls - Betty Parris, daughter of minister Samuel Parris, and his niece Abigail Williams - began exhibiting strange behavior. Soon a number of other young girls were also exhibiting the same symptoms. Several historians have suggested that perhaps the girls were simply playing childish games.

    Physicians called in to examine the girls could find no explanation for their illness. In February one doctor suggested the girls might be bewitched. A neighbor had Parris's Barbados slave, Tituba, concoct a "witch cake" in order to determine if witchcraft was present. Shortly thereafter, the girls made an accusation of witchcraft against Tituba and two elderly women of general ill repute in Salem Village, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborn. The three women were taken into custody on 29 February 1692. The afflictions of the girls did not cease, and in March they accused Martha Corey and Rebecca Nurse. Both of these women were well respected in the village and were covenanting members of the church. Further accusations by the children followed. By June the hunt for "witches" expanded beyond Salem to Andover, Ipswich, Gloucester, and other nearby towns.

    The accused witches were tried and most of them found guilty, using logic that sounds silly today. However, to the ill-educated citizens of Salem, these were "facts." Contrary to some stories, none of the witches of Salem were ever burned at the stake. With one exception, all were hanged at a public gallows. The one exception is poor Giles Cory, a church-going member of the community, who was pressed to death with large stones.

    The last hangings occurred in September of 1692, and by May of 1693 all accused witches still imprisoned were released. It is interesting to note that the reported drought of 1692 would have meant the elimination of ergot of rye by September, the time of the last execution.

    The final count of witchcraft victims was twenty executed and more than a hundred imprisoned (One died in prison.). In addition, many others fled into exile or hiding places, their homes were broken up, their estates were ruined, and their families were left in desolation. All of this was caused by the leaders in the communities: the magistrates and ministers.

    Finding your ancestors' roles during the Salem Witch Trials may not be terribly difficult. Many of the original trial documents are now both in print and online. You might start at your favorite search engine.

    Salem, Massachusetts, was not the only scene of witchcraft trials in North America. However, it is the one whose history is permanently etched in our memories. You may have ancestors who were eyewitnesses to one of the saddest times in American history.

  • 30 Oct 2020 9:36 PM | Anonymous

    Feeling hungry? Want to eat something that your ancestors enjoyed? How about Surströmming?

    According to Wikipedia, Surströmming has been part of northern Swedish cuisine since at least the 16th century. However, it wasn't confined to only Sweden. Also known as the Baltic herring, Surströmming was eaten by many people in the Baltic countries. Fermented fish is an old staple in European cuisines. The oldest archeological findings of fish fermentation are 9,200 years old and from the south of today's Sweden.

    In short, Surströmming is preserved herring. The Baltic herring is a bit smaller than the normal Atlantic herring, found in the North Sea. Traditionally, the definition of strömming is "herring fished in the brackish waters of the Baltic north of the Kalmar Strait". The herring used for surströmming are caught just prior to spawning.

    Wikipedia states, "During production of surströmming, just enough salt is used to prevent the raw herring from rotting. A fermentation process of at least six months gives the fish a characteristic strong smell and somewhat acidic taste. According to a Japanese study, a newly opened can of surströmming has one of the most putrid food smells in the world, stronger than similarly fermented fish dishes such as the Korean hongeohoe or Japanese kusaya."

    Also, Wikipedia states that he herring are caught in April and May, when they are in prime condition and just about to spawn, and have not yet fattened. They are put into a strong brine for about 20 hours which draws out the blood, after which the heads are removed and the fish is gutted and put into a weaker brine solution. The barrels are placed in a temperature controlled room kept at 15–20 °C (59–68 °F). Canning takes place at the beginning of July and for five weeks thereafter. Ten days prior to the premiere the final product is distributed to wholesalers. The fermentation of the fish depends on a lactic acid enzyme in the spine that is activated if the conditions are right (temperature and brine concentration). The low temperature in Northern Sweden is one of the parameters that affects the character of the final product.

    Fermentation continues in the can, causing it to bulge noticeably. Species of Haloanaerobium bacteria are responsible for the in-can ripening. These bacteria produce carbon dioxide and a number of compounds that account for the unique odour: pungent (propionic acid), rotten-egg (hydrogen sulfide), rancid-butter (butyric acid), and vinegary (acetic acid).

    Surströmming is commonly sold in grocery stores all over Sweden.

    Still feeling hungry?

    I think I will find a different method of honoring my ancestors…

    You might want to watch a YouTube video, I tried World’s SMELLIEST food in Sweden, showing a lady trying surströmming for the first time at .

    WARNING #1: The video is rather long at 17+ minutes and the surströmming episode in in the last half of the video. However, the first half shows a lot of Swedish countryside which might be enjoyable if Sweden is one of your ancestral homelands.

    WARNING #2: Be aware of the description of this video: "In this episode I am trying a typical Swedish tradition - I am opening a can of Surströmming: fermented herring. Some say the smell resembles that of a dead body. Well, it was worse..."

  • 30 Oct 2020 8:58 AM | Anonymous
    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Explore new family records from London and The Bahamas this Findmypast Friday.

    Do you have family connections in London or the Caribbean? This week's new releases can help you find out.

    Greater London Burial Index

    Spanning 1583-1665, the latest additions to this useful collection come from St Olave's, Southwark. Many of those listed would have died during the Great Plague of London.

    These records can reveal useful information for your family tree. You can discover your London ancestors' names, ages, occupations, addresses, and more. Check the parish list to see which other churches and timeframes are covered.

    Bahamas life events

    Findmypast has just released over 470,000 new birth, marriage, and death records from The Bahamas. You can explore the entire collection or focus on each record set separately:

    Covering over a century of history, discover important details for the Caribbean branches of your family tree with these essential resources.


    This week, Findmypast has added four new papers and thousands more pages to five others. Brand new to the site are:

    Meanwhile, the following newspapers have been updated with more coverage:

  • 29 Oct 2020 8:20 PM | Anonymous

    I am delighted to announce the addition of one more free feature to this newsletter.

    For years, various third-party companies offered to send email messages to newsletter readers listing all newly-posted articles. I never sent the messages myself; the various third-party companies did all the sending. Sometimes it worked well, sometimes it was erratic. Most of these third-party companies also inserted their own non-genealogy-related advertisements into each message they sent.

    I never liked either the process of allowing other companies inserting their ads or the erratic delivery. When I switched to the new newsletter software 3 weeks ago, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a method where I could send daily email messages to all the subscribers and to control the contents of each message. Namely, it would be reliable and would not contain non-genealogy-related advertisements.

    The new daily email message is now in effect. Every reader will get a daily email message that lists all the articles I have posted in the previous 24 hours. If you want to read a listed article, clicking on its title will takes you directly to the full article on

    To introduce this feature, all Standard Edition and all Plus Edition subscribers have been signed up for the new daily email and will receive their first message on Friday morning, October 30. (Of course, you can unsubscribe, if you wish.) In the future, readers will be able to sign up for the daily email list as they please.

    If you look at these daily emails listing new articles and then decide you do not want to receive such emails any more, scroll to the bottom of a message and click on UNSUBSCRIBE. Your email address will instantly be removed from the mailing list ONLY. All other capabilities of your email address and password will be unchanged.

    In the future, readers who want to receive the daily email list can simply supply their email address and name at or follow the links in the menus. That's all. There is no obligation to ever purchase anything nor any other obligation.

    With these daily emails, you do not have to manually open a web browser and go to to see if there is a new article of interest to you.

    NOTE #1: Articles are posted most every weekday but normally not on weekends. As a result, you can expect to receive email messages early the next morning (Eastern North American Time). That will be Tuesday through Saturday mornings in North America.

    NOTE #2: You can unsubscribe from these email messages within seconds at any time you wish. You do not have to ask me or anyone else to make a change for you. As always, you have direct, immediate control over anything sent to your in-box from this newsletter.

    NOTE #3: This has been the most-requested feature from newsletter readers during the past 3 weeks.

    I hope this makes your experience with EOGN even more enjoyable.

  • 29 Oct 2020 7:45 PM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

    The original All Souls Day — which eventually morphed into Halloween — is celebrated in many traditional Christian societies as a day to honor the memories of one’s ancestors. What better way to honor your ancestors than to learn more details about their lives and discover their stories?

    That’s why we’re opening all our death-related historical record collections — death, burial, cemetery, and obituary records — up to the public for free access during Halloween weekend, from October 29 to November 2!

    Search the free records now

    Death, burial, cemetery, and obituary records are key resources for family history information. Death certificates are typically issued within days of a death and can contain many details about a person’s life, such as their age at death, place of birth, parents’ names and origins, and the cause of death. The name of the person who provided these details may also be mentioned, and this can also be an important clue that can help you locate new relatives.

    Burial and cemetery records can supplement death certificates and offer additional information, while obituaries may provide rich details about the person’s life: their interests, profession, passions, and connections in the community.

    MyHeritage offers 153 collections in this category, containing 548,923,579 records in all. Normally, most of these collections are free to search, but require a paid MyHeritage plan to view fully and save the information to your family tree. But during this limited-time offer, you’ll be able to take full advantage of all the records in these collections absolutely free.

    This is a perfect opportunity for everyone to access and enjoy these records! So dive right in and see what you can learn about your ancestors.

    Search the death, burial, cemetery, and obituary records now

  • 29 Oct 2020 11:05 AM | Anonymous

    The Halloween season is perhaps the best time to reflect upon the injustices suffered by our ancestors. For instance, take the witchcraft hysteria of Hartford, in what is now called Connecticut.

    Yes, this was in 1642, 45 years before the infamous witch trials a bit further north in Salem, Massachusetts. According to, the Connecticut Witch Trials, also sometimes referred to as the Hartford witch trials, occurred from 1647 to 1663. The exact number of witchcraft trials is unknown but a total of 37 total cases have been documented, 11 of which resulted in executions. The execution of Alse Young of Windsor in the spring of 1647 was the beginning of the witch panic in the area, which would not come to an end until 1670 with the release of Katherine Harrison.

    Some of the better-known victims included:

    Alse Young probably was the first person executed for witchcraft not only in Connecticut, but likely in the whole of the American colonies. On May 26, 1647, she was executed in Hartford.

    Mary Johnson was the first recorded confession of witchcraft. She worked as a house servant and was accused of theft in 1648. After extensive torture and interrogation, Johnson confessed to "familiarity with the devil". She also confessed to having sexual relations with "men and devils" and to murdering a child. Her execution was delayed as she was pregnant during her imprisonment in Hartford. Johnson was executed June 6, 1650.

    Katherine Harrison was a former maidservant of Captain John Cullick and the widow of Wethersfield's town crier.She became a wealthy citizen of Wethersfield, Connecticut after she inherited her husband's estate, worth one thousand pounds. Between 1668 and 1669, Harrison was accused of witchcraft. The accusations against her included breaking the Sabbath, fortune telling and using black magic, as well as appearing in spectral form to people. Harrison's trial faced many complications: the first jury never reached a decision, and the second found her guilty, but the magistrates disagreed as most of the evidence was spectral, which relied solely on the accuser.In May of 1670, Harrison was released from prison, and banished from the Connecticut colony; she and her family relocated to New York.

    You can read a lot more about the Connecticut Witch Trials online, including in Wikipedia at If you are interested in the details of these witch trials, start with the lengthy list of citations at the end of the Wikipedia article.

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